His liberal-baiting plays have caused punch-ups in the aisles and he hasn’t finished yet. As The Woods – his incendiary take on sexual politics – returns, the writer cuts loose

‘I have no idea how to work these machines,” says David Mamet, trying to get himself on to Zoom. He has managed to log on but is just a disembodied voice. “It’s like those old movies where they have one of the first telephones and the grumpy old guy doesn’t know how to make it work.”

Mamet is far from a grump, though he is now 74. His tone is baritone deep, bouncy, surprisingly Tigger-ish. He fiddles with his laptop but quickly concedes defeat with regards to us speaking face to face, saying: “Look, I can give you a description. I’m not that interesting anyway.” The writer is at home in Santa Monica, California, where it’s 72 degrees outside. He is sipping tea. There are occasional interjections from others who are ushered away politely with the words: “I’m speaking to the Guardian.”

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